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New Parity Law Will Ensure Timely, Appropriate Access to Mental Health Treatment
Posted on: 8/24/2018

With Governor Rauner signing Senate Bill 1707 into law last week, Illinois now has a strengthened mental health parity statute.

The new law:

  • Increases transparency by requiring health plans to submit parity compliance analyses to the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) for review, and share online with the general public.
  • Requires the DOI and HFS to conduct market examinations/parity compliance audits and to report their enforcement activities annually.
  • Requires the Illinois Auditor General to review implementation of the state parity law and to report back to the General Assembly.

State regulators must now actively regulate parity compliance under the law. 

Senate Bill 1707 also prohibits: 

  • All prior authorization and step-therapy requirements for treatment of substance use disorders, two administrative processes that are burdensome, intrusive and sometimes dangerous.
  • Exclusions of prescription coverage and related support services for substance use disorders on the grounds that they are court ordered.

A loophole in Illinois law that allowed school district health plans to discriminate against mental health and addiction coverage is now closed. Under the old law, school district health plans were exempted from parity requirements.

ISMS worked together with the Illinois Psychiatric Society to help pass this legislation to improve mental health parity compliance and access to treatment for patients, in response to the opioid crisis in Illinois. The bill passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly with nearly unanimous bipartisan support.

Questions? Please contact ISMS Vice President of Legislative Affairs Erin O'Brien by email or call 312-580-6488.

ISMS will keep you informed on this bill and other ISMS priority bills with Physician Advocate and the Legislative Action Hub

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